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Walker Institute drives dialogue around collaboration at Adaptation Futures 2018

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Walker Institute recently participated in the Adaptation Futures 2018 conference in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Adaptation Futures is the world’s premier conference on climate change adaptation. With over 1000 scientists, practitioners, business leaders and policymakers attending to connect, learn and inspire.  The conference aims to facilitate dialogues for solutions between key actors from diverse perspectives and regions.  This event is the first time the conference is held on the African continent, which sets the foreground for discussions on developing country adaptation issues as well as increase developing world and African participation.

Walker were involved in a number of sessions throughout the conference, using our expertise to facilitate dialogue on collaboration, interdisciplinary working and adaptive capacities.

Dr Mackenzie Dove and Dr Celia Petty were both involved in the WHO’s Clim-HEALTH Africa session, which promoted some very interesting discussions on integrating health into  government climate policies in Africa. A wide range of methods were used in this interactive session such as presentations, Q-Storming, conversations, and participatory exercises, and we are excited to continue to work as part of the team to take the outcomes from this session forward.

Professor Ros Cornforth, Director of Walker, also ran another event “Unlikely Bedfellows: How academia, business, government and civil society can work better together for adaptation”. This session started with a series of speed talks from people working in different sectors, around sustainable business models. Along with the Walker Institute, speakers included; WMO-AMCOMET Secretariat, Department for International Development, African Women’s Development Fund, Institute for Environmental Analytics, and Oxfam. This was followed by a very lively Theatre of the Oppressed, the script for which was written in conjunction with Daniel Morchain from Oxfam. The Theatre enabled session participants to experience a situation where a partnership wasn't working, then step into a role, and change the script.  

Walker also had an exhibition stand where Dr Lucy Wallace introduced the new Walker Academy, as well as facilitated the creation of a collaborative art installation on the theme of 'working together'. Conference participants shared their thoughts, questions and experiences of working together on fabric which they tied to the Walker 'net'.

Key themes which emerged from the conference included:
- A need to establish a coordinated and sustained response between sectors affected by and responding to climate change;
- A need to unlock African perspectives;
- The need to progress from adaptation planning to adaptation action.
- The need to look at specific objectives and impact of adaptation in context. 

Walker is currently contributing to all of these themes, which are central to our current research projects and wider, long term objectives.